Joshua 6:1-14 Breakthroughs come when we give God full autonomy
1 Now Jericho was tightly shut because of the sons of Israel; no one went out and no one came in. 2 The Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors. 3 You shall march around the city, all the men of war circling the city once. You shall do so for six days. 4 Also seven priests shall carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark; then on the seventh day you shall march around the city seven times, and the priests shall blow the trumpets. 5 It shall be that when they make a long blast with the ram’s horn, and when you hear the sound of the trumpet, all the people shall shout with a great shout; and the wall of the city will fall down flat, and the people will go up every man straight ahead.”
6 So Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” 7 Then he said to the people, “Go forward, and march around the city, and let the armed men go on before the ark of the Lord.” 8 And it was so, that when Joshua had spoken to the people, the seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the Lord went forward and blew the trumpets; and the ark of the covenant of the Lord followed them. 9 The armed men went before the priests who blew the trumpets, and the rear guard came after the ark, while they continued to blow the trumpets. 10 But Joshua commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout nor let your voice be heard nor let a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I tell you, ‘Shout!’ Then you shall shout!” 11 So he had the ark of the Lord taken around the city, circling it once; then they came into the camp and spent the night in the camp.
12 Now Joshua rose early in the morning, and the priests took up the ark of the Lord. 13 The seven priests carrying the seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord went on continually, and blew the trumpets; and the armed men went before them and the rear guard came after the ark of the Lord, while they continued to blow the trumpets. 14 Thus the second day they marched around the city once and returned to the camp; they did so for six days.
God wanted the Israelites to know that victory comes from the Lord and it requires total commitment to the leadership and to one another. Jericho was brought down not by their act of encircling the city per se, but by their display of unity and discipline. In today’s passage, we learn that in order to experience breakthroughs upon breakthroughs as a community, we have to accord total trust in God whose ways are beyond our understanding.
See, I have given Jericho into your hand, with its king and the valiant warriors.
The LORD revealed to Joshua that Jericho and her king would be delivered into Joshua’s hand. As it seemed, the battle at Jericho had been decided in the courts above. The LORD gave Joshua detailed instructions leading to the capture of the city. The idea of having the people march around the city in a formation led by priests blowing the trumpets and the ark of the covenant was almost magical. They were to march around the city once everyday for six days, and on the seventh day, seven times followed by a trumpet blast and a united war cry. And the wall of the city was expected to collapse and the city for their taking. The divine mandate was upon Joshua, and victory was foregone.
Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests carry seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.
In the instructions dictated to Joshua, one cannot help but notice the consistency of the number seven, as in seven trumpets, seven days of marching, and marching seven times around the city on the seventh day. The number seven is mentioned 490 times in the bible; it represents completeness, divine perfection or something that is finished, as in the creation week in Genesis one. God had designed the proceedings leading up to the conquest of Jericho around the number seven to remind the people that God had a central and intimate role in all of Israel’s battles just as He did in creation.
The process of marching around the city involved none of the physical rigors in the traditional methods of breaching a fortified city. However, it required strict spirituality and adherence to the code that belonged only to the most disciplined army in the world. Joshua commanded the people, saying, “You shall not shout nor let your voice be heard nor let a word proceed out of your mouth, until the day I tell you, ‘Shout! ’ Then you shall shout!” The people adhered to the code and were rewarded on the day of conquest.
In order to experience breakthroughs upon breakthroughs, it requires us to give God full autonomy over our plans. God’s devices are typically incomprehensible and unacceptable to the human mind. God’s methods in breaching the city of Jericho although unconventional tested the extent of the Israelites’ faith in Him. Because Israel submitted to God’s devices, she experienced breakthroughs upon breakthroughs. The issue remains that although most people desired God’s total commitment to their endeavors. They wanted God to do things their way, and on their terms. This happens to be the single most prevalent reason why people do not experience the grand exploits of God apart from an occasional miracle. Therefore, in order to experience breakthroughs upon breakthroughs, miracles upon miracles, we have to place our total trust in the unacceptable and excruciating ways of God.
Jesus could not understand why the salvation of the world necessitated His suffering on the cross. Nevertheless, Jesus said, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Luke 22:42. Jesus’ act of total trust and obedience resulted in the plundering of hell and salvation of countless souls. Believers can begin to experience breakthroughs upon breakthroughs by:
– consulting God on the seemingly obvious decisions of life. Something we consider as a no brainer may be tabled for a daily discussion with God.
– being patient with the way things are progressing. It is really man’s insecurity and the fear of being left behind while everyone seems to be having a good time.
– always being doubtful that what you envisaged is the only way to a fulfilling life.
– believing that God has a way of engineering the best outcome without your direct and intimate involvement.
– enjoying each day as a gift of God and being a blessing to others.
A church cannot succeed in her commission unless her members are disciplined and united. The Israelites succeeded in plundering Jericho because the people displayed total commitment to their leaders and to one another. In fact, Jericho was Joshua’s first military campaign and it was God’s way of initiating unity and discipline into the people. Although the people did not comprehend the implications of the act, they moved as one man as instructed by their leader. In fact, there was nothing magical pertaining to the act of encircling city but it was their unity and discipline that resulted in Jericho’s destruction. The act of encircling Jericho as one man was proof of their faith towards God that merited their victory. Collapsing the walls was God’s responsibility, but working as a united people was Israel’s.
A church united in faith consists of members who are disciplined in their commitment towards the leadership and towards one another. Commitment towards the leadership is displayed through members’ obedience to the truth. However, the members’ commitment to the leadership is also a reflection of their commitment to God. Members’ commitment to one another is expressed by their care towards fellow members through an accountability structure like fellowships and cell groups.
A church that is committed to the vision of the leadership, and whose members are held together by fellowship is primed to fulfill her commission. Such a church has the potential of overcoming the Jericho’s of their world by destroying strongholds of darkness and win souls for Christ.
- Are you accustomed to making personal plans and asking God to help you accomplish it? God is the author of your life and He has already made plans to bless you according to His perfect ways. Therefore, it will make better sense to first seek to understand God’s perspective for your life. And thereafter, ask God to reveal clear instructions as to what you need to do. You could seek your pastor or cell leader’s help to discern God’s ways and instructions.
- Is your church united under the pastor’s leadership? Or are there voices of dissent and bickering? Perhaps, you could help by reinforcing the truth and the church’s vision in your cell group and fellowship group. In doing so, you help your church community fulfill her commission.
Dear Lord, I desire to breakthrough from my stagnation and fulfill my commission. I desire to walk in the commission that you have ordained for me. Show me your ways so that I can walk in it. Use me to unite members in my church community towards your truth and vision. In doing so, my church may fulfill the commission that you have ordained for her. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.